Mortgage Mayhem

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New York Times economics reporter Edmund Andrews was familiar with the dangers of easy mortgages from dubious lenders, but wound up taking the same kind of sub-prime mortgage that brought the economy to its knees. He tells his story in Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown.


Edmund Andrews

Comments [17]


Sounded as if he was blaming his woes on the loss or delayed gain of a 60K per year job for one or another of his wives.

But the life he describes he aspired to isn't one costing $180 (his 120 plus his wife's 60).

It's one costing at least $350.

As have many others I'm sure, though obviously not this man even to date, this back-of-the-envelope calculation is familiar territory indeed.

(If you live in NYC, or metro DC, it is the very explanation of why all the teachers and artists were mysteriously and suddenly replaced by bankers).

May. 26 2009 08:27 PM

And now you know why serious people don't bother reading the ny times business section...

plus there's the conundrum -- a financial company would make sure its employees have enough money not to be in this situation because they know it will make them overly susceptible to bias.

ps in his nytimes piece he also blithely mentioned one cutback was to pull his kids out of private school since the public school turned out to be just fine? Tuition must cost at least $15K for each of the 3 kids so that was smart....

May. 26 2009 08:23 PM
donald moder from Bronx

I read the excerpt of the book in the Sunday Times. At that time I thought it was a great story but that the author was not being honest about his relationship with his wife, her reactions to the money problems and his motivations. Why was the wife so blase about being financially underwater? Why did he feel the necessity to buy such a big house when he flat out knew it was a huge problem? His explanations do not ring true enough.
His wife's bankruptcies are a big deal, he should have mentioned it because it would explain her reactions. It also would explain why he decieved himself. His explanation is ridiculous. It had everything to do with this story. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. He is deaf dumb and blind not to realize this.

May. 26 2009 04:01 PM
JP from The Garden State

This could have been a great story if someone else was telling his story and explaining what an idiot this guy is and was. I would have applauded this interview if at the end it was brought up why one bailout for house owners does not fit every situation. These type of people deserve to loose their house and get bad credit and deserve no type of government assistance or public sympathy even if the housing bubble never existed. Unfortunately I fear there are many other foolish people in the same predicament right now.

So what is WNYC point they are trying to get at with this interview? Even if you have a great career, it’s OK to make piss poor choices and be completely irresponsible?

May. 26 2009 01:46 PM
Jennifer from New York

Well, this story is certainly an indictment of the sorry state the NY Times is in. It's HUGE and extremely sigificant that this man left out his wife's TWO previous bankruptcies. And why exactly is he still residing in his house "waiting for the axe to fall"? Why doesn't he do what every other American would have to do: Sell the house! Many professional people earning decent incomes have had to make difficult choices. (Unable to afford a home during the bubble, my husband and I, with our 2 kids, have chosen to rent an apartment, for example.)I'm sorry, but I definitely do not want my tax dollars going toward bailing out this yokel. I just don't! And, to the wife...we're a two-income family, by desire and necessity. We certainly couldn't put a kid through college, much less, pay our rent and bills if we weren't. Why didn't she hit the ground running to find and keep a job? That's what most women in America have to do today. Why wasn't the author reporting on how credit (not to mention the two-income family) has been fueling the American dream of home ownership and two cars in the garage for quite some time now because of stagnant wages, growing income disparity, and a tax structure that punishes people earning incomes. That's the story. But let me end on a positive note: I applaud his courage to go public with a story that we all suspect is far too common right now. But if he doesn't sell his house, if his wife doesn't get a job, and if some sort of mortgage bailout that renegotiates principals,etc. saves his sorry...well, that's just not fair and will engender a wild fury across this great land of ours.

May. 26 2009 01:33 PM
Jon from West Village

Another fast-talking jerk taking no responsibility for himself. Despicable.

Get involved with someone with 2 bankruptcies, no job, & 4 kids -- owes half of his income to his ex for child support and he wants to pitch a book about how this situation is the fault of aggressive lenders?

This reflects on NYT more than anyone.
How can you believe anything someone with this kind of judgment writes?

May. 26 2009 01:33 PM
sara from Manhattan

Is Edmund Andrews going to be a new permanent reporter on WNYC?

Please try and stay abreast of your guests other public radio appearances.


May. 26 2009 01:25 PM
Nancy from Brooklyn

I've also heard this financial "expert" hawking his book on several other public radio programs. Enough already. Will he show up on "Car Talk" next?

May. 26 2009 01:24 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I've heard this gentlemen interviewed about this book several times, and what never gets discussed is another insane and irrational situation in our society and one that's been around for decades, but hardly ever gets any notice from the media: the huge amounts he and millions of other fathers pay in child support.

The payments are not based on any realistic numbers or research -- just amounts that state legistlatures pull out of a hat. And men like him have to live way below the standard of living that their ex spouses live at.

And what about the financial condition of any other children he may have in the future? Their existence has no bearing on those payments in the law's eyes.

May. 26 2009 01:23 PM
the truth from bkny

Everyone that caught up in this mess were trying to live above their means...including this dude!

I was offered the same crazy deals and you know what? I said NO! I can live in this much house just fine.

May. 26 2009 01:23 PM
Fish from brooklyn

I don't feel sorry for this guy.

May. 26 2009 01:22 PM
Richard Johnston from Upper West Side

This is the 3rd or 4th time I've heard this goofball talk about himself and his shallowness and self-deception, and each time I feel less sympathetic than the time before. At least it's good that .000000001% of those damaged by this collapse are benefiting from it by bearing their souls and getting paid for it.

May. 26 2009 01:18 PM
Matt from Brooklyn

This article was really moving - it personalized something that's in the news, happening to "everyone else." I don't understand the outcry about it - other than it was an effective piece of work and maybe there's just fallout b/c of that. Why does it matter if his wife's bankrupties were mentioned or not? I think it was enough to say they had different views on money. That was really brought out.

May. 26 2009 01:15 PM
Hugh from Brookyn

That's rich -- a New York Times reporter talking about how the Times did pretty well on reporting on the looming bubble burst.

The Times is second only to the Wall Street Journal in _missing_ the bubble.

To this day, you'd be hard pressed to find explicit mention of the housing bubble in the Times. We are already seeing a steady stream of "things getting better" stories.

The overwhelming impression left from a survey of Times economics reports is that the Times views itself, much like Obama and Geithner, as a shill for Wall Street and the housing market.

May. 26 2009 01:13 PM
pg from indiana


of course I meant to say "were not part of the problem"

May. 26 2009 12:42 PM
pg from indiana

I echo what Nic (1) says- when I listened to the story the first time on another WNYC program - can't remember which one- I don't recall any mention of the wife's bankruptcies- to me he has lost all credibility by leaving out this very significant piece.

To say that they weren't not a part of the problem - because they were past issues? - leaves the listener/reader looking like a sucker for giving him an ear- and an even bigger sucker for buying the book and financing such a lack of personal responsibility.

please ask him about this Leonard-

May. 26 2009 12:36 PM

I followed the link above to read a little about his story, and WOW - what a surprise as I read through the reviews on Amazon. How can you talk up this guy's story as a true look at how people were caught up in the mortgage mess, when his story is completely missing his wife's prior bankruptcies and ridiculous spending habits?
And he's a NY times reporter? Did he give any thought to what this would do to his credibility?
I was interested to listen, but not really sure I want to now. Definitely won't be buying the book.

May. 26 2009 09:07 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.